Are you a mother who is gifted hand creams for Mother’s Day, year after year? Or are you thinking of gifting your own mother with hand cream this year? Would you pay, say, $876,000 for a bottle?
Ahead of this year’s Mother’s Day, a new industry network, Mums in Ads (MIA) has launched a campaign mock-selling a hand cream in a pink bottle, going for $876,000 per bottle, to raise funds for an independent not-for-profit advocacy organisation working to enact policy changes that support working parents.
MIA, co-created by creative director Julia Spencer and Regina Stroombergen, was formed to address the underrepresentation of mothers in the advertising industry, as well as drive discussion around the reasons behind this and ultimately create change.
Why the $876,000 sum?
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“Hand creams are, unfortunately for us mums, a bit of a go-to gift for Mother’s Day,” Spencer said. “So we thought we’d turn a gift that no mum wants into a conversation that every mum needs.”
“We know that Australian mums, across their lifetimes, are facing an eye-watering amount of lost earnings and superannuation. And with so few women in top positions in the advertising industry, it’s not a stretch to guess the motherhood penalty is rife.”
Stroombergen, art director at the Sydney-based creative agency Thinkerbell, believes that the barrage of motherhood stereotypes at this time of year, and “… mums in ads, as well as other industries, are faced with the double standard of how society says we value mums and how they actually feel valued by current and potential employers”.
The hand cream campaign she created with Julia Spencer will urge companies to engage with their female employees on the ways motherhood and career progression can work together.
Executive director of The Parenthood, Georgie Dent believes Australia lags behind the developed world when it comes to paid parental leave and access to affordable childcare.
“It’s mums who pay the price,” she said.
“Literally. At a time of year where mums are being celebrated, this campaign aims to bring into focus the inequality faced by Australian mothers as revealed by our research. For too many women in Australia, poverty or financial insecurity is the price they have to pay for a lifetime spent caring. It’s not good enough. The Parenthood is lobbying to change that.”
With Mother’s Day just around the corner who’s up for a little pop quiz?
What do you think The Motherhood Penalty costs a woman in Australia in lost earnings & super during her lifetime?
— Georgie Dent (@georgiedent) April 29, 2022
“We doubt that the hand cream will hit its ludicrously high reserve. $876,000 is a lot of money to part with … and that’s the point.”
Last December, Dent contrasted Australia’s parental policies with Sweden’s, noting the Scandinavian country’s “ambition and efforts to provide the necessary infrastructure for families to ensure that mothers and fathers are able to equitably and sustainably combine work and care”.
Members of the public can view the hand cream ‘product’ on eBay and make bids, with proceeds going to The Parenthood, as it continues its advocate for policy changes that support parents and carers to ensure children thrive.
This article was first published by Women’s Agenda.